by Louis Bignami

Located at an ancient European crossroads where the Simplon Pass crosses the high Alps into Italy, the small and picturesque town of Brig boasts many architectural treasures, among them the impressive Stockalper Castle palace, with its impressive onion-domed tower and galleried court yard, and the pilgrim Church in Glis.

The old town center is now a pedestrian zone and is lined with shops and restaurants, making a very pleasant base when off the slopes. As well as excellent skiing from Rosswald immediately above the town (5,850ft.-8,450ft.), reached by gondola, there are a dozen major ski centers within half an hour's drive, including Belalp, Riederalp, Bettmeralp, Fiescheralp. A little further lie Zermatt, with the significant Matterhorn, and the starting point of the Glacier Express train route, which connects Zermatt to St.Moritz making a stop in Brig, and Saas-Fee, Leukerbad and Crans Montana.

What's Great
What's Not-So-Great

+ Affordable and wonderfully central for nearly a dozen ski resorts

+ Great for families and groups either with mostly beginner to mixed ski skills

+ Wonderful for skiers interested in history, scenery, and wildlife

+ Pedestrian-friendly downtown and other tourist attractions and excursions for families and groups

- Limited ski action close to the town

- Not centrally located to good terrain for advanced and expert skiers

- Minimal snowboarding action close to town

- Vertical drop is less than 2,500 ft.